About 200 million credit and identification cards now have RFID technology embedded into them. All US Passports issued since October 2006 also have RFID chips in them. The chip contains all the data that is on the first page including your photo. A growing number of states (New York, Michigan, Washington, Vermont) are now issuing special driver’s licenses “enhanced” with long range RFID chips.
What is RFID and how does it work?
RFID, Radio Frequency Identification, is the technology that lets you simply wave your credit or identification card, passport or license in front of a nearby scanner instead of having to slide the magnetic stripe through it. It’s a fairly simple concept. The electronic scanner sends a signal which is received by an antenna embedded into the card, which is connected to the card’s RFID chip, thus activating it. Unfortunately, criminals with minimal technical skills can construct their own clandestine RFID readers with a few simple supplies. These devices can steal your private financial information quickly and silently—all the perpetrator needs to do is come near your wallet with the hidden card reader.
If your card is equipped with PayWave or blink, indicated by a logo on the front or back of the card, then it has an RFID chip embedded in it. The absence of a PayPass logo, however, does not mean that your card does not have an RFID chip—call the customer service number on the back of your card. If you cannot get an answer from your bank you should protect your cards anyway to ensure that you do not fall victim to identity theft. These types of cards have RFID chips embedded in them.
How You Can Guard Against Identity Theft and Electronic Pickpocketing?
To prevent identity theft, you must vigilantly guard your personal information. Thoroughly shred all bank statements before recycling them, and cut up your credit cards. Be careful when shopping at online retailers, and make sure that you do not submit your credit card information over any unsecured servers. Most importantly, make sure you guard your credit cards against unauthorized RFID readers. Many credit cards contain RFID chips that record your personal information, so if you do not use a secure wallet, identity thieves can obtain your credit card data using hidden RFID readers.